Tag Archives: cybercrooks

Valentine’s Day – Malware Love Is Coming Your Way

From the – here we go again files. Love in your inbox – malware on your computer.

imageLike clockwork, spammers and cybercrooks ramp up the volume of Valentine’s spam emails aimed at unsuspecting users – every yearstarting just about now.

You know the ones –  “Falling in love with you”, “Sending you my love”, “Memories of you”, “I Love You Soo Much” …………. (saccharin sells I guess  Smile  ). Since cyber crooks are opportunity driven, you can expect much more of this type of cybercriminal activity again this year.

Maybe you’re a very cool person who’s significant other is always sending you neat little packages in your email. MP3 files, screensavers, cartoons, YouTube videos, and the like. You get them so often, that you just automatically click on the email attachment without thinking. If you are this type of person, here’s a word of advice – start thinking.

The hook, as it always is in this type of socially engineered email scam, is based on exploiting emotions. The fact is, we’re all pretty curious creatures and let’s face it, who doesn’t like surprises. I think it’s safe to say, many of us find it difficult, if not irresistible, to not peek at love notes received via *email.

The reality.

The truth is, these emails often contain links that deliver advertisements – or worse, redirect the victim to an unsafe site where malware can be installed on the soon to be victim’s computer.

Would you be fooled?

A couple of years back, a friend, who is an astute and aware computer user, fell for one of these carefully crafted teasing emails. Clicking on the link led him to a site which had a graphic of hearts and puppies – and of course,  the teaser.

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Luckily, common sense prevailed and he backed out of this site. If he had clicked on the teaser, he would have begun the process of infecting his machine with a Trojan. A Trojan designed to connect to a remote command and control center.

Unfortunately, being smart is often NOT enough to protect yourself. At a minimum – make sure you have an effective security solution installed; capable of detecting both known and new malware strains.

You know what to do, right?

Don’t open emails that come from untrusted sources.

Don’t run files that you receive via email without making sure of their origin.

Don’t click links in emails. If they come from a known source, type them on the browser’s address bar.

If they come from an untrusted source, simply ignore them – they could take you to a web site designed to download malware onto your computer.

* Cyber crooks have moved on from using just emails as a malware delivery vehicle. So, be on the lookout for fraudulent Valentine’s Day greetings in:

Instant Messenger applications.

Twitter

Facebook

Chat forums, etc..

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Filed under Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, email scams, Malware Alert

Malware Speaks! Please Listen

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If malware could speak, what a tale his thoughts could tell.

If you could have a conversation with one, or more, of the scourges that infest the Internet, you might be surprised at what could be learned from such an imaginary conversation. It might go something like this:

I might be malware, but in most cases I’m pretty polite; I won’t infect your computer unless you invite me in. But I can count on lots of you doing just that.

Take my good buddy LOP, for example, he’s been away for awhile, but he recently came back from vacation and he’s now infecting unsuspecting computer users’ machines with renewed vigor. Since LOP is a shift changer, and is often incompletely recognized by many tools – particularly newer forms of the infection, he’s having a hell of a good time.

The people he works for (some might call them cybercrooks – well, actually everyone calls them cybercrooks), are experts at convincing you to install malicious code like LOP.

LOP is a pretty neat piece of malware (his employers are pretty smart fellows), since he’s been designed, amongst other things, to display ads from a range of advertisers through pop-up windows, banner ads and so on.

Oh, and he’ll automatically switch your Internet Explorer home page to his own search engine. One he particularly likes is http://www.mp3search.com. When searches are made with this engine, the results that you see will be advertising pages that LOP chooses to display.

(Sample misdirected search)

Here’s what WOT has to say about mp3search.com. Click on the graphic to expand the image.

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Just in case you decide that LOP is no longer welcome on your computer (that happens all the time), he will connect, every so often, to a web page from which new malware files will be downloaded – making it much more difficult to delete all of the active malicious files on your system.

I should tell you that LOP is extremely hard to get rid of, and just in case you try, you’ll have to deal with over 200+ changes to your Registry Keys. And in case that’s not enough bad news, you should know that LOP will invite lots of his malware friends over, so that they can party on your system.

But LOP has even more tricks up his sleeve. He can  monitor your system’s processes, and can even play with your security applications making them ineffective.

Since he’s a sporty fellow, once he’s done that, he’ll launch a Keylogger to capture your key strokes and just for fun, he’ll go on to scan your email contact list so that he can bug your friends. Hmm, maybe they’ll soon to be your ex friends.

LOP is definitely a hard worker (which is why his employers like him so much), so in his spare time he’s going to look around your operating system for vulnerabilities. You see, he knows that most people, haven’t installed the latest operating system updates, nor have they updated their security applications, like their supposed to.

Even if they have taken care of updating their operating system, it’s almost certain that they haven’t updated installed productivity applications, and LOP knows just how vulnerable these applications can be.

So, think carefully before you offer LOP, or any of his malware friends, that invitation. Once invited in, LOP will settle in for a long, long visit.

Thanks for the chat, but I have to get going. There are lots of unaware Internet users’ waiting to invite me into their computers. I know that many Internet users’ are kind of “click crazy”; so why should LOP be the only one to have some fun!

Oh, by the way, unless you paid attention to what I said, I’ll probably drop by your machine soon. You have a good day now.

This is an edited and revised copy of an article originally posted here July 14, 2009.

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Filed under Adware, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Humor, Internet Safety, Internet Security Alerts, Online Safety, System Security, WOT (Web of Trust)